Joseph Chmelynski, an officer with the Bethel Park Police Department, responded to a call from neighbors of a burglary in progress on March 5, 1948. Arriving at the scene, he encountered Edward DiPofi and John R. Wilson in the unoccupied home.
While handcuffed and being escorted to a police car, DiPofi used a gun concealed in his waistband to shoot Chmelynski and shoot another officer, George Kercher. Chmelynski died four days later.
DiPofi and Wilson fled. Police set a trap for DiPofi at his home on March 6. When two men approached the home, police opened fire with a submachine gun. The two men, a police officer and a passerby, were wounded.
DiPofi and Wilson were apprehended later that same day, when a suspicious taxi driver alerted police he had just dropped off the suspects at DiPofi’s mother’s house.
Wilson pleaded guilty to murder and received a life sentence. DiPofi was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. He was executed on January 9, 1950.
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